Treatment of persons with disabilities should be given priority
The Department of Disabilities under the M/o Social Justice and Empowerment has asked state governments to make available information related to COVID 19 in accessible formats for persons with that disabilities. In a communication sent to states , it is stated that the Central Government has enacted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 that envisages dissemination of all information in accessible format both print and electronically. Therefore, all the information relating to COVID 19 is to be made available in accessible formats for the benefit of persons with disabilities enabling them to deal with the situation equally with others. Also, rule 15 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules clearly mandates that all the websites must be made accessible in accordance with guidelines for Government websites, as adopted by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, all public domain documents to be uploaded on the website either in OCR or in ePUB format.
It necessitates issuing appropriate instructions to Health and Publicity Departments of the respective State/UT to take immediate measures to make all the publicity material related to COVID 19 accessible in the following manner:
a) Print material in Braille and audio tape for persons with visual disability.
b) Videographic material with subtitles & sign language interpretation (for persons with hearing disability.)
c) Information in the websites and social media with all documents in ORC / ePUB format.
The communication also states that Health Department of each state is to be issued appropriate instructions for priority in treatment of persons with disabilities as envisaged under section 25 of the RPwD Act 2016.